ENTRANCE fees could be going up at one of the North-East's main tourist attractions.

The committee which runs Beamish Museum, near Stanley, County Durham, will be recommended tomorrow to increase the charge for adults by £2 to £12 from April, and for over-60s from £7 to £9.

The pensioners' party fee will rise from £6 to £7, the adult party fee by £1 to £8, and the charge for educational visits by £1 to £5. The price for children will stay at £6.

But officials estimate that because of the increases, the number of visitors will be 40,000 down on previous predictions for the year.

Acting museum director John Gall says in a report to the museum's joint committee that the total of 291,000 was based on there being two Easters during the 2001/02 financial year.

The estimated income of £2.25m will give the museum a revenue surplus of £60,000 "which will be essential to counteract the fact that in 2002/05 there is no Easter.''

Mr Gall says: "Alternative pricing structures were considered, including an adult price of £11, however at this level sufficient income would not be generated to maintain present levels of activity for visitors, marketing, maintenance and care of collections.''

The Beamish Club discount rate, which offers cheaper prices to more than 5,000 members, may also rise.